Artificial Intelligence: How it Benefits SAAS Companies
Not long ago, artificial intelligence (AI) elicited visions of Terminator movies and self-aware robots rising up to fight the human race. And although some may still believe the robots will overthrow the humans, AI is actually bringing a lot of positive innovations to our world. Today, AI is all around us, being used in smart homes, apps, grocery stores, and broadly in the B2B sector.
For business owners, AI is a useful tool that is becoming increasingly more important in running a successful business. This is especially true for companies operating within the SaaS. No longer a ‘nice to have,’ AI is becoming a strategic imperative for companies that aspire to gain or retain a competitive advantage.
But what, you may wonder, does this have to do with accounting and finances?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Accountants: A Surprising Partnership
While accounting may not be the first (second or third) industry that comes to mind when you think of AI, the industry as a whole is no exception to its reach and impact. In fact, many of the once-tedious traditional bookkeeping tasks once performed by accountants can now be performed by artificial intelligence, such as accounts payable and receivables, automated data entry and data categorization, and even natural language processing aids for contract interpretation.
Still not convinced? Consider that in health care, AI is now being used to analyze claims for thousands of accounts, pinpointing potential complexities in advance, with experts forecasting that payroll, auditing, and tax remittance may one day be performed by AI.
And these advancements then allow professionals to focus on more in-depth advisory roles that bring greater value to their clients.
How AI Benefits Businesses
Here are the top five ways that AI can be used for value creation in your business:
Personalized User Experience
When developing or updating software, it’s important to think of AI from a user experience. AI can collect large amounts of data which you can use to help tailor the customer’s experience. Utilizing AI in your customer-facing software can save your end users time while increasing their overall satisfaction with your service, including anything from rules that automatically categorize incoming data to remembering a user’s preferences.
The sky’s the limit on how you can tailor your service to your customer’s preferences. Using AI, you can learn how to better serve your customer, resulting in more business and overall fulfillment on both sides.
Building on the information you receive from AI to tailor your customer’s experience, predictive analytics give you access to multitudes of information about your customer’s habits and allow you to forecast what their next need may be. This can help keep your current customer base by anticipating their changing preferences and making decisions based on those preferences.
In actuality, AI gives you the power to see the future and anticipate a current customer’s changing wants and needs whereas before AI, you had no idea what the next ‘big thing’ would be for your software. Now, you have a crystal ball into the mind of the user – an invaluable tool to have at your disposal.
Pricing Packages for SaaS Software
Once your software has implemented more AI, your users may require fewer licenses to operate. While this may seem like a negative for software services that are priced on a per-user basis, this is actually an opportunity to price your software as a value-based offering. As AI continues to grow, more and more SaaS companies are offering a pricing strategy that pulls away from the legacy of per-user costs and looking more at the value that the software provides for the company as a whole.
You got into business to help others and create a valuable product. Why not allow your product to be priced based on its value rather than from a licensed-user standpoint?
Increased Customer Service Ability
Customer service in the SaaS world typically means manned ‘help desks’ that virtually solve customer’s problems, whether through a chat window, email, or by phone. Utilizing ‘chatbots,’ many frequently asked questions can be answered via AI, freeing up your customer service representatives to solve more complex issues. Customer satisfaction grows because simple questions are answered quickly, and complex questions are given more undivided attention.
This is a win-win for both you and the customer as they win by finding answers quickly, and you win by utilizing your labor in the best, most efficient way possible.
Information Processing & Analysis
Not only can AI help your business externally, but internally as well. Rather than poring through thousands of lines of data, automation of information processing can give you quick, accurate reports that will free up your time to form better conclusions. Using AI, you can build a report to your specific situation and know that the data you’re analyzing can be trusted when making time-sensitive decisions. AI can deliver exception reporting that provides an opportunity to analyze variances specific to your interests and can highlight the information you need to be looking at so that you can focus on the data that is important to you.
AI can be of great benefit to the SaaS entrepreneur by helping reduce your effort on repeatable, draining tasks and free you to do the important things, like growing your business. At CFO Alliance, we utilize AI within our own accounting and finance solutions to bring you peace of mind and allow us to focus on providing services that matter to you.